Environmentally sound ferry

Ferry companies operating in the Baltic Sea are facing new challenges. Stricter regulations regarding emissions of SOX and NOX will come into force in 2015 and 2016. Finland’s Viking Line has taken the lead by ordering a new ferry which will use LNG as fuel and satisfy all upcoming emissions requirements.


Viking Line’s order for a new Ro-Pax ferry from the STX Finland shipyard in Turku will result in the largest passenger ship to operate on liquefied natural gas (LNG) so far. The new Ice Class 1A Super vessel will be 218 metres long including the ducktail, with a beam of 31.8 metres. It will have a gross tonnage of 57,000 and a cruising speed of 22 knots. Viking Line has the option to order a sister ship.

Newbuilding 1376, to be named M/S Viking Grace, the new vessel will have 880 cabins and is designed to carry 2800 passengers. It will be operated by a crew of 200. Cargo lanes total 1275 metres and passenger car lanes total 500 metres. Additional space for carrying passenger cars can be arranged using platforms that are lowered into place when required.

Scheduled for delivery at the beginning of 2013, M/S Viking Grace will operate on the Turku – Åland Islands – Stockholm route. For cruise passengers seeking luxurious relaxation, the new vessel will provide excellent facilities. Exact details of the types of entertainment that will be available and other glamorous onboard activities remain a close secret.

“It’s rewarding to be able to launch a unique vessel concept with attractive and exciting solutions,” saysMikael Backman, President & CEO, Viking Line. “This Ro-Pax vessel represents a new generation of ferries in which modern design, future concepts, high levels of service and a consistent approach to environmental issues are fundamental considerations in every aspect of the project. We look forward to being able to exceed our customers’ expectations,”.


Innovative Wärtsilä technology will be making an important contribution not only in operating the vessel, but also by enabling Viking Line to provide its customers with safe and comfortable environmentally sound services on a competitive basis.

Wärtsilä has also been contracted to supply a complete LNGPac storage and supply system together with cold-recovery and engine noise-control technology. LNGPac is an innovative solution developed by Wärtsilä which consists of LNG storage tanks, equipment for LNG bunkering and related safety and automation systems. Wärtsilä’s patented Cold Recovery System utilises the latent heat of LNG in air conditioning systems, reducing the amount of electricity consumed in cooling compressors. Significant operational savings and an increase in overall vessel efficiency are the result.

“STX Finland is very excited about this newbuilding for Viking Line,” says Jari Anttila, EVP &COO, STX Finland. “Innovative designs like this are viewed as a welcome challenge by our designers and engineers. We’re proud of our ability to produce this environmentally-sound cruise ferry. Choosing Wärtsilä as supplier of essential equipment is clear proof of the excellent cooperation between our companies.”.


“This is the first time that a Wärtsilä dual-fuel engine is being used in a passenger vessel,” says Jukka Paananen, Business Manager, Cruise & Ferry, Wärtsilä­. “This is however a well proven technology  because our Wärtsilä 50DF engines have already collected more than one million running hours powering LNG carriers. Worldwide our dual-fuel engines have more than 5 million running hours in marine and power plant applications. All engines in the Wärtsilä DF family - the 20DF, 34DF and 50DF - are optimised for gas operation and cover a power range from one to 17.5 megawatts. The eight-cylinder in-line Wärtsilä 50DF has an output of 7600 kW. Light fuel oil or heavy fuel oil (HFO) can be used as a back-up fuel, and switching from gas to the back-up fuel occurs smoothly during operation without any loss of power.”

Engines in the DF family operate on the lean-burn principle, with a high compression ratio enabling increased levels of efficiency. Because an Otto cycle rather than a diesel cycle is employed, peak temperatures are lower and Wärtsilä DF engines comply with upcoming IMO Tier III limits on NOX emissions. Both gas admission and the engine’s pilot-fuel injection system engine are electronically controlled by an advanced automation system. This allows optimal running conditions to be set independent of the ambient conditions or the type of fuel in use.



“Wärtsilä DF engines are fully compliant with the IMO Tier III regulations concerning reductions in NOX emissions which will come into force in 2016,” says Paananen. “They can also be operated without restrictions in SECAs (SOX Emission Control Areas).

The Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the English Channel have already been designated as SECAs, and the designation of other areas is under consideration.”

Compared to traditional diesel-powered ferries, SOXemissions by the Viking Line’s new ferry will be close to zero when it is running on LNG, and NOX emissions will be reduced by at least 80%. Particulate emissions will be almost non-existent and CO2 emissions will be 20% lower. From an emissions perspective, M/S Viking Grace will be the world’s most environmentally-sound large ferry.

“Ferry traffic between Finland and Sweden has a long and successful history,” says Paananen. “With M/S Viking Grace, Viking Line is introducing a new green chapter into this market sector.


Many of the ferry routes in the Baltic Sea weave through the thousands of islands in the beautiful Åland archipelago, as well as passing close to islands off the east coast of Sweden. To minimise levels of disturbance to the residents of the abundant summer cottages and to maximise passenger comfort, Viking Line’s new ferry will be equipped with Wärtsilä’s Compact Silencer System (CSS), which reduces noise emitted by the vessel’s engines, particularly the unpleasant lower frequencies.

“The engine silencers are arranged in a row and each of them has a specific noise-damping characteristic for a dominant frequency,” saysJukka Paananen. “The engine’s noise emission spectrum is measured in our laboratories and the CSS system is then tuned to achieve the desired noise performance. Installation of our CSS solution means that at a distance of approximately 100 metres, noise levels associated with the new ferry’s main engine exhaust outlets will be around 50 dB.”

Enhanced levels of passenger comfort
When a ship’s engines speed up or slow down, passengers may experience such changes as vibrations transmitted through the vessel’s hull - this might be why the glasses in the bar start clinking. A number of factors are involved, including forces imposed on the hull as the propellers rotate and the levels of cavitation experienced. The term cavitation refers to the formation and rapid collapse of empty cavities in the water being driven by the propellers. In addition to vibration, it can damage the propeller surfaces can result. In M/S Viking Grace, the five-blade propellers on each shaft line have been designed for optimal operation with the lowest possible induced pressure impulses.

Scope of supply
Wärtsilä’s scope of supply for the new ferry includes four 8-cylinder in-line Wärtsilä 50DF dual-fuel main engines, two 2300 kW bow thrusters and a 1500 kW stern thruster, two stainless steel fixed-pitch built-up-type main propellers and complete propeller shaft lines with shaft-line seal systems.

Viking Grace

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